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(Leila Miller) – Vaccines and me. Me and vaccines. Ah, we’ve had quite a history together, and I was always a fan. But now our relationship is… complicated.

From my youngest years until recently, I had been an active promoter. One of my earliest childhood memories is that of accompanying my mom to doctors’ offices around Tucson in the 1970s, dropping off the new immunization cards with their plastic sleeves. My mom was not only a registered nurse, but also an active member of the Women’s Auxiliary (the doctors’ wives group), and that year the members of the Auxiliary were giving pediatricians a good supply of those little one-fold blue booklets for their patients to keep their shot records through the years. The basic system (and the blue cards!) are still used today in Arizona, but now with many more spaces for the expanded shot schedule. I have always felt proud to have been a part of the program’s launch.

My first child was born in 1991, and I did not hesitate to vaccinate her on schedule, just as I did with the next two children. About a year after my third child was born, the chickenpox vaccine came out to much fanfare, and I remember hesitating about that one.

I wondered why it was such an important inoculation, because all of my generation had gotten chickenpox, and it was really not a big deal (aside from the itch). Getting chickenpox was almost a rite of passage, and when I came down with it as a child, my teenaged babysitter, Lisa, even made a fun card for me. She drew a smiling picture of me with red dots all over, and I kept that card for years. There was nothing alarming or unusual about any of it.

So, I was confused when the shot was developed. I was 28 years old and I had never known anyone to be seriously affected, much less killed, by chickenpox. But the information we received in the mid-‘90s roll-out was that a certain (incredibly low) number of children were dying every year from chickenpox, and the vaccine was going to prevent those deaths. The media campaign was successful in getting us moms to worry that our child could be the one to die, and that concern was eventually enough to convince me to go ahead with it for all my children (except the one who contracted a nice, mild case of chickenpox right before his scheduled shot at one year old).

As the years went by, all my children received all their shots on schedule—until the HPV vaccine (GARDASIL) came out. That one was a game-changer for me, as I was finally willing to reject one of the recommended vaccines. An injection to prevent a sexually-transmitted virus that might cause a highly curable cancer was a bridge too far. The hype around it did not make sense to me. I was not alone in questioning the shot, and several other pro-vaccine friends refused it for their children as well.

Suddenly, with rejection of the HPV shot, I was a bit of a rebel. I was no longer accepting everything I was told to do, and yet I still sat in judgment of a couple of friends who didn’t want their kids to get any shots. I had less judgment for those who were on a “delayed schedule,” but I still thought their caution was unnecessary.

The “crunchy” Catholics, I admit, made me roll my eyes. Sure, reject the shots dealing with sexual transmission. I get that. But measles? Measles was making a comeback! We needed to be smart and sophisticated, not rubes and ignoramuses.

I believed that the “anti-vax” sentiment was dangerous to society. After all, these people weren’t just risking their own children—they were risking community health as well. I remember telling one friend about the importance of vaccines for herd immunity, and that if too many parents thought as she did, we would all be in dire straits.

I told her, gently (and condescendingly), that the majority of us who vaccinated our children were the ones keeping her unvaccinated children safe — implying her irresponsibility. And the coup de grâce was when I confidently explained to my Catholic friend that the Church herself was very, very pro-vaccine!

But there was always something bothering my conscience. Throughout all the years of vaccinating my eight children (and all ten of us getting our flu shots every year), there was an underlying ethical issue that I tried — mostly successfully — to ignore. You see, upon my reversion to the Catholic faith in the mid-’90s, I learned that most vaccines in use were morally compromised, as they were produced by using the bodies of aborted human children. In other words, produced via a sophisticated cannibalism.

I also learned the Church’s stance on the use of those abortion-tainted vaccines, namely that if there is only “remote material cooperation” involved, the shot may (not must) be taken. However, for a Catholic who makes the decision to take the shot, there is a moral obligation to speak out, to object, to demand the creation of an ethical alternative, and to make it difficult for the pharmaceutical companies to continue to make unethical vaccines. Specifically (emphases mine):

It is up to the faithful and citizens of upright conscience (fathers of families, doctors, etc.) to oppose, even by making an objection of conscience, the ever more widespread attacks against life and the “culture of death” which underlies them. From this point of view, the use of vaccines whose production is connected with procured abortion constitutes at least a mediate remote passive material cooperation to the abortion, and an immediate passive material cooperation with regard to their marketing. Furthermore, on a cultural level, the use of such vaccines contributes in the creation of a generalized social consensus to the operation of the pharmaceutical industries which produce them in an immoral way.

Therefore, doctors and fathers of families have a duty to take recourse to alternative vaccines (if they exist), putting pressure on the political authorities and health systems so that other vaccines without moral problems become available. They should take recourse, if necessary, to the use of conscientious objection with regard to the use of vaccines produced by means of cell lines of aborted human foetal origin. Equally, they should oppose by all means (in writing, through the various associations, mass media, etc.) the vaccines which do not yet have morally acceptable alternatives, creating pressure so that alternative vaccines are prepared, which are not connected with the abortion of a human foetus, and requesting rigorous legal control of the pharmaceutical industry producers.

Our moral obligation to speak out and object to these tainted vaccines is crystal clear. But when I was a younger mom, I didn’t want to make waves, so I looked the other way, assuming that other, stronger Catholics would do that work. Basically, I was a coward.

And then it was just a few years ago, probably a year or two before the COVID cult and vaccine idolatry, that my dear friend Leila Marie Lawler (the “other Leila”) started telling me that certain blue states were working to make it illegal for parents to opt out of vaccines for their children.

Parents’ rights would be stripped, and no religious or conscience exemptions given for those enrolling in public schools. She gently warned me that power was changing hands from the parent to the state, and I needed to get on this bandwagon, and quickly.

Once this blow against freedom and parental rights was enacted, there would be no going back. My friend Melody Lyons was gently warning the same. I didn’t want to believe what they were saying, because how on earth could parents not be the final arbiter of putting injections into their children?

Despite my pro-vaccination stance, I always knew that that realm of decision-making was sacrosanct. But after a while, I verified that what they were saying was true. With horror, I understood the obvious implications, and then I proceeded to … hide my head in the sand. I did nothing and said nothing publicly. It disturbed my peace to think about it, so I pulled a Scarlett O’Hara: I’d think about it another day.

But suddenly, COVID was on the scene and there was no more escaping the truth.

Now that the furor to force abortion-tainted COVID injections has overtaken not only world governments but also the Church hierarchy, we don’t hear a peep anymore about the obligation to object to them, to fight them, and to make the pharmaceutical companies uncomfortable.

Precisely because the “doctors and fathers” (bishops and priests are fathers, no?) didn’t speak up through these last decades, most Catholic leaders are now simply ignoring the obligation outright, and we have marched firmly onto an opposite, treacherous path – socially shaming and punishing those who won’t consent to an unethical vaccine — sometimes to the point of segregating congregations and denying the sacraments themselves

How I wish I’d had the courage to stand up earlier. Maybe I should have known, but I thought it goes without saying that folks have a right to participate in society without being injected against their will, without fear of losing their livelihood, access to education, freedom of movement, ability to associate with others, freedom to worship, recreate, etc. This seems so clear, doesn’t it? Coercion based on fear of punishment is called bullying at best or tyranny at worst—we all know this, right? And yet, frighteningly, it is no longer clear to many otherwise normal folks… even Catholics.

I understand that Catholic leftists align with the ruling class on this issue, because the nature of leftism is to support heavy-handed control of citizens by the government. But the shock comes with seeing otherwise faithful Catholics who not only inexplicably ignore the Church on the decades-old directives about protesting unethical shots, but who also ignore what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has said more recently, during these very years of Covid (emphases mine):

“[P]ractical reason makes evident that vaccination is not, as a rule, a moral obligation and that, therefore, it must be voluntary.”

As the Catholic bishops of Colorado made clear:

“…there is no Church law or rule that obligates a Catholic to receive a vaccine—including COVID-19 vaccines.”

And yet, most of the world’s bishops themselves—including the pope—do not even pretend to follow Church directives on these issues. I’ve asked the question before, and I’ll ask it again: Where is the Church? The answer is not a comforting one, as the Church has begun to look just like the world.

So, what is my stand on vaccines now, in 2022? Like I said, it’s complicated. I am both weary and wary. I never received the COVID injection, and I cannot conceive of a time that I would ever consent to it. For the first time in my life, I skipped the flu shot this year as well. I will never again judge or shame any mother who chooses not to vaccinate her children, as that is a choice proper to each family—and they likely have their own good reasons not to do so.

I don’t know what I would do if I had infants today; I guess I am neutral. I don’t envy new moms and the choices they have to make, and I am hoping that all parents would do their due diligence, and then make any decisions based on informed consent.

I simply urge every Catholic not to jettison the Church’s directives, the dictates of your own conscience, and reason itself. Don’t become like the world out of fear of death, because death will come anyway, and you will have to give your account before the Lord.

Please don’t do as I did, judging the choices of other parents, choices that were perfectly in line with Church teaching and ethics. Instead, extend charity to your fellow man and his right to his own bodily integrity—and even help him fight for that right. Finally, if you ever think of hanging the world’s hopes on a vaccine of cannibalistic origins, remember this: “…it is astounding that anyone could think God will actually bless such crimes by allowing them to save humanity.”

Vaccines and me. Me and vaccines. I am not sure what our relationship is anymore, but I know we are not where we started.

And just for fun, here’s when journalists used to do journalism. Mike Wallace, on 60 Minutes, confronts the (lying) powers-that-be about the 1976 Swine Flu vaccine debacle. Some of it may sound familiar:

Reprinted with permission from Leila Miller